Is the opposite of worry serenity or peace of mind? Let’s find out in this interesting piece about the state of worry and its opposite.
Worry has some positive purposes, but with the right dose. For instance, worry may be a warning to us about danger, motivates us to take preventive actions or boosts us up to perform at our level best. However, too much worry can be bad for us. It can lead to panic attacks or paralysis, which are terrifying conditions.
Is it normal to worry too much?
If you think you are prone to feeling worried all the time, I just want to let you know that this is normal. However, you can use your natural response to relieve or avoid the feeling of being in a state of worry. But by avoiding the source of your anxiety, you are just making things worse than they should be.
Ultimately, doing the opposite of worry can be the best option of dealing with your worries. But this is not easy as you will have to face your fears while disregarding the natural survival instinct that tells you to flight or run.
Understanding and taking on the opposite strategy might help to push you forward when everything is pulling you backward.
There are a number of things that may not help you with your worries, and they include:
Denial – This is when you tell yourself that there is nothing to worry about. You overlook what worries you.
Avoidance – you avoid facing your fears and avoid all situations that may get you to this situation.
Obsession – you think that maybe by constantly thinking about your problem, you may magically solve it.
According to the author Lawrence J. Cohen of The Opposite of Worry, there are three great remedies to worry.
Being held in warm, loving arms: When you are feeling overwhelmed by worries, words may not be enough to help you feel better. What you require is a strong sense of inner safety that comes from “being held in safe, loving arms.” This could be the arms of your partner or even friend. Recent research indicates that by holding someone’s hand, you lessen their emotional and physical pain.
Befriending your emotions: The author alludes that the opposite of worry is learning how to accept and welcome every emotion whenever they arise. An excerpt from the reads, “When you watch your own emotional flow with no effort change it, you realize you can endure it.”
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By accepting your emotions as they arise, you also make room for the subsequent feeling that comes along, be it sadness, joy, or even anger, and express it responsibly and freely. This is termed as the “healthy emotional flow.”
Promoting a restful inner voice: The soothing internal voice can help you cool down whenever you are anxious with self-talk that allows you to embrace the feeling.
So from the above, the opposite of worry is not serenity or peace of mind. The opposite of worry is not a motionless and invariable state, instead, it’s a “healthy flow” of emotions that allows us to embrace whatever the feeling we are experiencing, to express those feelings if possible, to act upon them is necessary, and the usher in the next feeling that arises.
To put it simply, the real opposite of worry is mindfulness.
How to stop worrying
Now that we know the opposite of worry is mindfulness, how do you move from the state of the former to the later?
Here are 7 powerful tips to help you stop worrying and become mindful.
Cultivate your mindfulness strengths
If you want to move from worry to mindfulness, you need to keep in mind the following three terms – acceptance, attention, and labeling.
Acceptance does not mean submission, give up, or enjoy the feeling, no. It means preventing the urge to escape your experiences and enabling them to be just what they are. For you to administer any changes in your life, you may need first to accept it.
Attention means being “here”. It means focusing on the world around you or being in the present and stop focusing on the negative future things that may never occur. When you are in a state of worry, you are flouting life and getting lost in your thoughts. Human beings have an almost infinite attention span, especially when it comes to thinking about the bad things that may not happen.
Bring your thoughts or attention to the world around you and understand that the “what-ifs” are never real, but the world around you is.
Recognize the warning signs
Negative thoughts generate negative emotions and contrariwise, forming a self-reinforcing circle of misery, thus making it trickier to handle emotions.
When we are consumed by negative thoughts we usually forget about our physical body. You need to identify the physical signs that come with those emotions, such as shallow breaths, tightening of muscles, and sweating.
It is absolutely understandable and natural to want to run away from things that trigger anxiety. But this is not good for you. Remember, the opposite of worry is mindfulness.
If you escape the source of your worries, you just keep the worries alive. But when you are anxious and then after, feel that your worries were just silly, you eventually generate what is termed as “extinction,” and the worries stop.
However, if you keep avoiding the source of your worries, you are essentially telling yourself that these are feelings you should be scared of.
We all have looked back on a time we were worried and say, “Man, I was quite freaking out!” This is normal, and it is happening because we didn’t comprehend at that time. Worries usually gang up on you and take over your cognitive functions, causing you to make some bad decisions. To avoid this, you need to identify the escalating worry immediately.
If you know your physical signs of worries, then you can start to recognize them when they arise so you can combat the worry train before it leaves the station.
In a short while, distraction yourself can help you overcome your worries. But the danger of this is that you might distract your life away without knowing. But since the problem is worries and not fear, it is thoughts and not a real thing, the best thing is to stay focused.
Shift your attention whenever you start to feel anxious.
Train your mind to embrace worries, relay your focus and label your feelings. Remember, engaging is not a distraction. While they are technically similar, there is some subtle dissimilarity between them.
Give attention to your emotions
Emotions will always disappear over time even though they usually seem to not to. Unless there are underlying conditions, emotions will eventually dissipate on themselves provided you stop toying with it.
When you give attention to your emotions, do so without redirecting your attention. However, you should accept and label it.
Use the opposite action
If you can use this method correctly, then you will go from someone who is usually chronically worried to someone who never worries.
With this technique, when you start to see your physical signs of worry, instead of distracting yourself, expose yourself to the source of your anxiety.
This is called the opposite action, and should only be used if your worries are illogical.
There you go, the opposite of worry is not calm, assurance, cool, peace of mind, serenity, or whatever your thesaurus tells you. The opposite of worry is mindfulness. You can go from the state of worry to mindfulness by cultivating your mindfulness strength, establishing your physical signs, avoid avoiding, identifying, engaging, giving attention to your emotions, and using the opposite action. When you are worrying, you miss out on so many things that could make your life better.
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